7 Jan 2003

PNG police commissioner investigating alleged OPM attacks across Indonesian border

6:20 pm on 7 January 2003

Papua New Guinea's police commissioner has been sent to the border province of Sandaun to investigate whether or not Papuan separatist rebels have been launching attacks against Indonesia from PNG.

Tarcy Eri, the Foreign Ministry's Deputy Secretary says the Commissioner, Sam Inguba, will investigate security breaches along the border by OPM, or Free Papua, rebels and Jakarta troops.

Mr Eri's comments come after Indonesia accused PNG of harbouring OPM rebels in the border town of Wutung.

Jakarta also accused OPM rebels of recent attacks on a delegation of Papuan government officials and troops as well as shooting and wounding several members of the family of a prominent human rights activist,

Yesterday, PNG's Foreign Affairs Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu censured Jakarta's Ambassador to PNG over reports of Indonesian troops crossing the border and randomly shooting local citizens.

Mr Eri says the Somare government will not tolerate OPM rebels using PNG soil to launch attacks against Indonesia.

"The police commissioner is on the border now.... to determine whether these people have been actually operating from our side. We will get our security people to go ask them, and get them to go back to their side and do what ever they want to do with their own people.....We will not allow them to use our soil, to mount operations against the Indonesian army. If they want to take on the might of the Indonesian Army, then they should do it on the other side."

Tarcy Eri, PNG's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.